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Heidi Metzger Scholarship Supports Service Learning in Belize
posted by: Cindy Omlin | April 23, 2015, 10:03 PM   

heidi metzger with booksThe funds are being used to support Ms. Metzger’s Global Services Partnerships (GSP) spring break trip to Belize, a small developing country in Central America.  Her experience as lead teacher gave her the opportunity to partner with teachers and students to assist students with developing reading, writing, and oral English proficiencies.  As a follow up to the trip, Ms. Metzger plans to form a Sister School partnership in which the students in her classroom will participate in an on-going pen-pal and book-buddy relationship. She plans to use media and technology to maintain communication to ensure future volunteer exchanges with more teachers and families from Longfellow International Elementary School. 

The NWPE scholarship presentation gave Ms. Metzger the opportunity to share her story with colleagues.  Ms. Miller recalls that Heidi’s story “was incredible.”  “She was so emotional that she had difficulty talking about it.  She hugged me and kept saying how grateful she was for NWPE’s support and for ‘believing in her.’” 

Ms. Metzger went to Belize thinking it was just going to be a literacy exchange and book buddy program for her students, but it turned out to be so much more as she encountered the poverty and personalities of the people.   She noted how she spent her first 30 minutes in the classroom searching for a pencil — one of three that was shared by all the students. 

After her return to Boise, Ms. Metzger was struck with strong emotions upon seeing a Longfellow student throw his food in the trash.  She was overcome by the fact that the children she met in Belize know real hunger and thirst.  “I have so much; we have so much,” she shared.  Ms. Metzger is taking her service learning to another level by making an appeal for paper, pencils and other supplies needed by the Belizean students she visited. 

Ms. Metzger believes that to enhance respect for the profession of education, “Teachers should be involved in trainings and classes that go beyond the basics of the 'Three R's' at a local level and encompass the root of their passion at a global level.”  The trip, NWPE scholarship, and Ms. Metzger’s subsequent actions are helping her do just that.  Her experience certainly met the hopes of GSP organizers who believe that international service and travel, combined with intentional learning, broadens the mind and heart, giving participants global perspectives on ways we mutually impact one another's lives. 

NWPE was proud to support this powerful, life changing experience for Ms. Metzger.  We encourage educators to explore GSP’s service learning opportunities!

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